Living Ventures is an award-winning company currently operating 31 venues, across 11 different brands. Sites for Living Ventures include Gusto, Australasia, The Alchemist and Blackhouse, along with the latest venue to open, Manchester House.
Two of Living Ventures’ more recent sites include Artisan Kitchen & Bar and Grand Pacific. Both sites are located in the heart of Manchester City Centre and both have leading interior designer (and self-confessed ‘one-woman Aussie-band’) Michelle Derbyshire, in common.
Michelle provided the interior design for the two sites, which are already causing a stir in Manchester, whilst MJB Construction (North West) Ltd was the main contractor. Michelle’s work on Grand Pacific & Artisan Kitchen & Bar continues the designer’s great working relationship with Living Ventures having previously worked on Australasia.
Keen to discover what each site is all about, Premier Hospitality caught up with the in-demand designer to get the lowdown on the venues which are the current talk of the town.
“Grand Pacific is a bar and garden, which comes off the back of Australasia, which I worked on around 18 months ago. Since it launched, Australasia has been extremely successful so Living Ventures decided to make use of an underutilised space upstairs and outside, transforming it into a bar and garden to extend the offering.
“We built a large awning, installed planter boxes and created a fantastic garden terrace. When we have sunny weather the awning moves back, providing a great place to relax with drinks or to enjoy the delights of the light menu.”
Work began on Grand Pacific in January and was perfectly timed to open in July, just as the warmer weather greeted the country. The feedback has been extremely positive so far and if the success of Australasia is anything to go by it will remain busy for the foreseeable future.
“The interior is light and airy and is just like a venue you would encounter overseas. Grand Pacific has a warm, inviting holiday ambience about it and is something quite different for Manchester. Grand Pacific has been very popular, especially with girls.”
Standout features of Grand Pacific include an impressive bookcase, wicker fans and walls decked in coral and seashells. Although Grand Pacific is effectively an extension of Australasia, Michelle has worked hard to ensure that the site retains its own unique identity.
Just around the corner from Grand Pacific is Artisan Kitchen & Bar, a 12,000 sq ft site, situated on the first floor of The Avenue North in Spinningfields. Bringing casual dining to a prime location in the city, Artisan is open every day, serving a fantastic selection of dishes and drinks.
“Artisan is a huge space, which is split across two buildings with a glass walkway in between – it is very unusual. The building was not built to be a restaurant; it has low ceilings and is located on the first floor, so it was quite a challenging project. However MJD Construction Ltd have been champions as the main contractors on this site as well as on Grand Pacific which has led to their involvement on a third site for Living Ventures, the recently completed Manchester House.”
“Manchester is a very creative place, with a great history to it, specifically an industrial history. There are some great places in Manchester, like the Northern Quarter, and I viewed the city as a foreign visitor, taking influences from how I see the city.
“I was given pretty much an open brief for Artisan, so I came up with a name and a concept which was heavily influenced by its surroundings. As an Artisan can create pretty much anything from art to food this name seemed the perfect fit for this venue and with a name in place the whole look just rolled out.
“The interior has an edgy feel, which is low-key yet surprisingly warm considering its industrial influences.”
The bar comprises a collection of dining tables, whilst portraits and artistic touches are littered throughout the site, giving the impression that the venue is as much an artist’s studio as it is a restaurant and bar.
Michelle’s involvement with Living Ventures has given the interior designer a newfound love for her adopted home city, cementing her status as an honorary Mancunian.
“Working on projects like Grand Pacific and Artisan is very important to me. I’m an Australian living in the UK and my involvement with these sites helps to make Manchester my home. As a city, Manchester is currently at a great point in time, where it is becoming a big focus for people, with the BBC’s move to MediaCity being just one of the reasons why everyone is looking to Manchester instead of just London. It really is a fantastic time to be working in the city and these have been great projects to be a part of,” said Michelle.
For more information on Grand Pacific, Artisan Kitchen & Bar or the other sites within Living Ventures’ portfolio, please visit: www.livingventures.com.
MJB Construction (North West) Ltd
MJB Construction (North West) Ltd is a fit-out contractor, specialising in the design and construction of restaurants and nightclubs. The company has been in operation for 14 years and within this time MJB Construction (North West) Ltd has been involved with numerous high profile sites, including the Circle Club, the Living Rooms and Australasia in Manchester.
At present MJB Construction (North West) Ltd is the main contractor on Living Ventures’ latest venue Manchester House. The project follows hot on the heels of the recently completed venues Grand Pacific and Artisan Kitchen & Bar for Living Venture’s.
Mike Briffa MJB Construction (North West) Ltd said:
“Working on projects for Living Venture’s is great, the company is willing to listen to your ideas and although we are not heavily involved with the design, we make the transition between the design and construction stages.”
“We work alongside a client, taking them from the design right through to completion.”
MJB Construction (North West) Ltd has built up a fantastic working relationship with Living Venture’s which has seen the company tackle increasingly larger sites.
“Our emphasis is always on delivering a quality product to the best of our ability and always on time.”
Chesterfield Couture specialise in the manufacture of top quality seating for an array of high end projects. Although Chesterfield Couture is a new player in the contracts market the company has more than 30years’ experience working in the furniture trade.
Over the last 3 years Chesterfield Couture has become synonymous with quality and consistency and has built up a reputation on a ‘can do…will do’ attitude.
With such a well respected approach to their work, Chesterfield Couture has been invited to participate in some very exciting prestigious projects, including Lennoxlove House, a project facilitated by the Queen’s own Interior furnishing’s consultant. In addition, Chesterfield Couture has also worked with the Whiskey Lounge U.K., Adidas UK, Thomas Pink Limited and DEKRA Penthouses and most recently with Michelle Derbyshire on the Grand Pacific.
Commenting on their involvement with the project, Chesterfield Couture Sales Director, Alex Money, said:
“We were contacted by Michelle and given the prestigious job of making her classy designs ‘a reality’ for the Grand Pacific. The centrepiece was our 27 foot long bespoke Chesterfield seat.”
“Manchester has once again become a vibrant, multi-faceted International city and is becoming well established on the world stage. Companies like Living Ventures are responsible for investing time, money and a great deal of effort into the infrastructure of the city. As Manchester lads ourselves, we love what these guys are doing in the city; creating ambient, quality bars and restaurants and putting Manchester on the map. We wish Living Ventures much success with Grand Pacific and all future projects.”
Sale Property Consultants Ltd
Sale Property Consultants Ltd is a chartered surveyor and project manager, working on a range of projects in the retail and hospitality sector. The company has been in operation since 2008 and within this time has worked with many leading names, including JD Sports and BANK Fashion, and is currently working on Manchester House for Living Venture’s.
Working on the Grand Pacific project, Sale Property Consultants Ltd was the project manager and quantity surveyor for the new venue. Sale Property Consultants Ltd’s involvement on Grand Pacific followed the successful completion of The Botanist and The Alchemist, two Leeds-based venues owned by Living Venture’s.
Sale Property Consultants Ltd Company Owner, Chris O’Donovan, said:
“We have built up a good working relationship with Living Venture’s and we thrive on repeat business from all our clients. I have been working with JD Sports for seven years, so that relationship stretches back before I even set up Sale Property Consultants Ltd.”
“We pride ourselves on our commitment and drive and are very aware that we are only ever as good as our last job.”